The Broadwater Tourist Park
  |  First Published: June 2004

‘LOCATION, location, location!’ That sums up one of the most important aspects of the Broadwater Tourist Park. It really has one of the best locations to be found anywhere.

This Gold Coast City Council operated tourist park is situated right on the western bank of the Southport Broadwater, on the old Gold Coast Highway. The park is virtually opposite the well-known Smith Street service road leading west to the FI highway.


It’s a massive complex – I saw it as being around 250m wide and quite a bit longer. That means there’s enough space to allow off-peak visitors to pick and choose just the right camping spot, for tent, caravan or campervan – or to maybe hire one of the excellent on-site cabins. At peak holiday times, however, this is one very busy spot so it pays to organise a Christmas or Easter break well in advance (ph. (07) 5581 7733, fax (07) 5591 4059 or email --e-mail address hidden--

Even though the complex is large it still has quite a cosy atmosphere, aided by the trees along the western side, the Broadwater’s sands right along the entire east side and Loder’s Creek, with its decent on-site boat ramp, along the northern boundary.

And it’s quiet, too. We visited during the week when the Gold Coast Highway was quite busy but, thanks to the park being set back off the main road somewhat, there was surprisingly little traffic noise. More noticable was the sound of outboard powered boats humming up and down the Broadwater, and even they weren’t loud enough to be considered intrusive. (Mind you, it would be odd for an angler to find the sound of a boat’s engine disagreeable!)

The Broadwater Tourist Park has large well-grassed sites, bitumen roads of a decent width, and enough amenities blocks, barbecues, and camp kitchens scattered throughout the complex to ensure that no visitor is far from any of these all important facilities. Cabins are available in two different locations. The Seashell cabins are located virtually on the beach, overlooking the Broadwater on the east side, while the Beachcomber and Oceana cabins are situated virtually on the northern corner of the park where Loder’s Creek forms a natural boundary.

The Broadwater Tourist Park’s is right on the doorstep of some of the Gold Coast’s main attractions. Right across the Broadwater is SeaWorld and the other Spit attractions, while the bright lights of Surfers Paradise are only a couple of minutes’ drive away. The main shopping areas at Southport are close by as well.


The fishing nearby is outstanding. At virtually any stage of the tide the gently sloping beaches leading to the shallows of the Broadwater are worth fishing for the likes of flathead, whiting and bream. The best thing about it is that the water is very calm, making it attractive for families, especially those with little children, to enjoy some shore-based fishing from their base at the Park. There is a bait shop nearby, or you can opt to pump yabbies in the Broadwater.

One of the overlooked fish in this area is the humble gar. These fellows berley up very well with a bit of stale bread, and they can be taken by setting up a fine tipped rod and light line with a small slender float and a couple of size 14 fly hooks with prawn as bait. Garfish are mighty tasty and, of course, they make great bait when you move farther afield to fish in the area.

Which now brings me to the Seaway and its significant influence upon fishing in the entire area. You can either drive to fish the south wall (or the nearby sand pumping jetty) or fish along the walls or within the main channel from a boat. There is also some pretty good fishing on the north wall if you’re prepared to leave the boat on South Stradbroke Island and walk out along the wall.

No matter how you approach fishing at the Seaway – whether you’re a shore-based angler or a boatie – you’re able to tangle with some big fish when conditions are right.

Never underestimate what the Seaway can turn up! On my last expedition I fished around the rocks on the point of the north wall with slabs of mack tuna under a small float to keep snags to a minimum. I scored several big tailor plus a decent jack of around 2.5kg during a daylight session – and this was in weather that was far too calm to provide the best fishing due to a total lack of white water. Big tarpon, trevally, jew, massive flatties… these are the sort of fish that highlight the lists of mega catches in the Seaway.

There is some very good beach fishing along the Spit/Narrowneck area as well. Right across the road from Sea World and the other tourist attractions is a very decent surf beach that can be fished for tailor and bream depending upon conditions and state of tide. It’s certainly worth a look, that’s for sure.

Small boat owners staying at the Broadwater Tourist Park are fortunate enough to have a decent boat ramp for their own exclusive use. The ramp, in Loder’s Creek on the northern end of the Park, is virtually an all-weather all-tide ramp that allows direct access to the Broadwater. As expected from a Park of this quality, there is a good sized fish cleaning table adjoining the ramp, and a barbecue is handy enough to get some of those fillets cooking once filleting is over.

In all, the Broadwater Tourist Park has a lot going for it – there’s the all-important location, the comfort levels and water-side ambience, plus the fact that there are enough fishing opportunities on offer to please just about everyone.


1) The attractive entry to the Broadwater Tourist Park.

2) The Loder’s Creek boat ramp is well suited to small boats and is a great feature of the Tourist Park.

3) You won’t camp much closer to the water than at these sites.

4) This view from the Tourist Park shows the Loder’s Creek boat ramp and the associated BBQ and picnic tables. Here you can cook your catch as you clean it.

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